April 1 Issue

Other Voices always strives to present you with alternative views on important topics. This issue offers some really alternative perspectives and even some “alternative facts.” As always, read critically – and enjoy.

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This Week on Connexions.org


Noam Chomsky Announces Las Vegas Residency

Political commentator and anarcho-syndicalist advocate Noam Chomsky has announced an upcoming three-year residency at a luxury resort and casino that is scheduled to begin this April. According to sources, Chomsky will take over a brand-new 5,000-seat venue built specially for the production, which will run six nights a week, with a matinee on Saturday. The two-hour speaking engagement and acrobatics extravaganza, titled Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony Of Wonder, will reportedly span the highlights of the MIT professor emeritus’s 60-plus–year career as a social justice activist and outspoken critic of American foreign policy. “This mesmerizing spectacle is the culmination of everything I’ve worked toward in my life,” said the 87-year-old Chomsky, bedecked in one of the sequined cardigans he will wear during the nightly appearances, which will reportedly feature nine total costume changes. Read more

Keywords: Noam Chomsky - Entertainment Industry


Total terrorism solution

In the European Parliament in Brussels, a "defense and security consultant" presents an "industrial solution to terrorism" which -- unlike all other military and security solutions -- is guaranteed to actually work. Read more

Keywords: Security - Terrorism/CounterMeasures

Free Speech and Acceptable Truths

Recognizing that measures are needed to stamp out the threat of divisive or unconstructive free speech which jeopardizes a safe learning environment through the promotion of harmful ideas, the University Department of Acceptable Truths is considering policy changes to govern which forms of free speech shall be permitted on campus, including the establishment of a permanent Un-Israeli Activities Committee to ensure the responsible use of academic freedom on topics related to Israel. The committee would have the power to investigate anti-Israel statements or thoughts, compel testimony, administer loyalty oaths, and where necessary recommend the banning of books, websites, and individuals. Read more

Keywords: Free Speech - Israeli Apartheid

McDonald's and NYPD, together

McDonald's and the New York Police Department have launched "Three Strikes, You're In!," a bold new program that rewards New Yorkers for their patience with the NYPD's "Stop and Frisk" policy. With "Three Strikes, You're In!," individuals who are stopped and released three times without charge are eligible for one Happy Meal™ at participating McDonald's stores. To receive their Happy Meal™, customers must record each stopping officer's badge number, as well as the time and location of the stop, on a voucher obtainable at these stores. Read more

Keywords: Police Harassment - Stop and Search

Dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide Revealed

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colourless and odourless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide. DHMO is a constituent of many known toxic substances, diseases and disease-causing agents, environmental hazards and can even be lethal to humans in quantities as small as a thimbleful. Concerned citizens are calling for DHMO to be banned. Read more

Keywords: Dihydrogen Monoxide

Fire Ants Are Being Laced with Homosexual Chemtrails to Bite Christians And Convert Them To Homosexuality

According to reports, fire ants are being laced with homosexual chemtrails and then dumped in neighbourhoods with higher per capita rates of Christianity. The homosexual chemtrail concoction contains a high concentration of gay endorphins. Sources confirm that several exclusive gay clubs collected the spent sweats of late-night homosexuality, then sent them to a laboratory where in-vitro techniques were used to create this potent new form of biological homosexual chemtrail. Read more

Keywords: Homophobia

Website of the Week


Postmodernism Generator

The Postmodernism Generator is a computer program written by Andrew. C. Bulhak using the Dada Engine, a system for generating random text. Each time you reload the page, it generates a brand-new postmodernist essay, completely meaningless, but superficially plausible, just like 'real' postmodernist essay. Those who have suffered through one or more university courses in cultural studies or the humanities will recognize the genre. Every time you click refresh in your browser, you’ll get a brand new essay. Find it here

Keywords: Postmodernism - Nonsense

Bonus Website

500 Letters: Generate your artist biography

The computer program on this website will create an artist’s statement for you. Just check off a few boxes and click, and voila! you’ve got your own artist’s statement. Ideal for busy artists and non-artists alike. Find it here


Website of the Week #2.5


Improbable Research

www.improbable.com: Research that makes people laugh and then think. Find it here

Keywords: Science - Humour

Book of the Week


A Short Course in Intellectual Self-Defense: Find Your Inner Chomsky

By Normand Baillargeon

Normand Baillargeon explains how to think critically about everyday spin and jargon -- from politics to advertising, from mysticism to news reporting. Read more

Keywords: Critical Thinking - Skepticism

Video of the Week

Explaining financial markets and the financial crisis

The Subprime mortgage crisis explained. John Bird and John Fortune (the Long Johns) explore the mindset of the investment banking community in this interview. Watch it here

Keywords: Fictitious Capital - Financial Crisis

Organizing


'Special' New York Times Blankets Cities with Message of Hope and Change

In November 2008, thousands of volunteers hit the streets to distribute 1.2 million copies of a special spoof edition of the New York Times. Six months in preparation, the spoof edition, designed to look like the real New York Times, was headlined with long-awaited news: "IRAQ WAR ENDS". The edition includes stories describing what the future could hold: national health care, the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for CEOs, etc. See the special edition here or here (PDF).

Keywords: Alternative Media - Hoaxes

People's History

U.S. court rules that corporations are persons

On May 10, 1886, a U.S. court ruled that corporations are “persons” entitled to all the rights of human beings, plus special rights that humans don't have, and without however being subject to the obligations that humans are bound by. The court based its ruling on the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an amendment which had been passed to protect the rights of former slaves. The amendment stated that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” Once corporations were recognized as “persons” they were able to claim, among other things, the right to free speech, which in the case of a corporations means the right to own the media and to fund and buy politicians and lobbyists. Here is an account of how this came about. Sorry, this is not a hoax or a satire.

Keywords: Corporate Power - Corporations/Influence on Government -

Noam Chomsky is Going to Take a Day Off

Famed linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said Monday that he was taking a break from combating the hegemony of the American imperialist machine to try and take it easy for once. "I just want to lie in a hammock and have a nice relaxing morning," said the outspoken libertarian socialist academic, who first came to public attention with his breakthrough 1957 book Syntactic Structures. "The systems of control designed to manufacture consent will still be there for me to worry about tomorrow. Today, I'm just going to kick back and enjoy.” Read more

Keywords: Noam Chomsky - Leisure Time

From the Archives


Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity

This paper is the now-famous Sokal Hoax. In 1996, Alan Sokal submitted this article to the postmodern journal Social Text. Immediately afterwards he revealed the paper to be a hoax engineered to expose the bankruptcy of postmodernist discourse about science. In Sokal's own words, it was designed to demonstrate that "a leading North American journal of cultural studies . . . would publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it contained the right buzzwords and, (b) flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions."

The significance of this hoax has been widely discussed, for example here, and on Sokal’s own website. See the actual article here.

Keywords: Postmodernism - Hoaxes

Chevron's $80 million ad campaign gets flushed

A day-long comedy of errors, and Chevron's waking nightmare, began when Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch, together with the Yes Lab, pre-empted Chevron's multi-million dollar “We Agree” ad campaign with a satirical version of their own. The activists' version highlights Chevron's environmental and social abuses -- especially the toxic mess the oil giant has left in Ecuador, which Chevron has been attempting to “greenwash” for years. The activists' pre-emptive campaign began with a press release from a spoof Chevron domain, which launched the fake “We Agree” site hours before the real Chevron could launch its own, real campaign. Read more

Keywords: Environmental Crime - Oil & Gas/Environmental Issues

Topic of the Week


Satire

Is satire still possible when Donald Trump is President and individuals in positions of power insist that climate change is a hoax? In a time when corporations are legally considered persons with the right to dictate governmental, economic, and social policy, while individual and collective rights are gutted by corporate-dominated states, yesterday’s outrageous satire all-too-frequently emerges as today’s reality. Still, satire still exists, and you’ll find some examples on the Connexions website here

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Bequests

Many of us have made working for social justice a lifetime commitment. If you are thinking about leaving a legacy for social justice that will live on, you might want to consider leaving a bequest to Connexions in your will. If you'd like to discuss this option, please contact us: Connexions Archive and Library, 812A Bloor Street West, Suite 201, Toronto, ON M6G 1L9, 416-964-5735 or see the Bequest page..

Connexions Calendar


April 2, 2017
The Songs of Leon Rosselson by Marisa Orth-Pallavacini
Marisa Orth-Pallavicini is a singer/ songwriter, living in Vancouver for the past 40 years.


April 2, 2017

Votes For (some) Women: 100th Anniversary of B.C.’s Women’s Suffrage Historical Walking Tour
On April 5, 1917 eligible white women got the right to vote in the provincial British Columbia election, yet it took another three decades for other women (and men) to be granted that same right.


April 4, 2017
Toronto’s Poor, A Rebellious History
A wide-ranging conversation with co-author Gaetan Heroux exploring the history of poverty in Toronto and the struggles against it.


April 5, 2017
Trudeau, Trump, and the future of climate activism in Canada
A discussion about what people concerned about climate change can do in the face of Trudeau’s response to climate change thus far. Given the political climate, how can climate activists move forward, what might be some effective strategies, and where should we put our energy?


April 7 – 9, 2017
Pivot Toward War: US Missile Defense And Weaponization Of Space
A conference and protest in the community known as the ‘Pentagon of the South’.


April 8, 2017
Closing the Gap: Better Health for All
Bringing together scholars and practitioners who are actively implementing solutions to health equity issues.


The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We'll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password. Read more →

Seeds of Fire


April 1, 1649
The Diggers
A group of labourers gather on George’s Hill just outside London and begin to dig up the earth. The group, known as “True Levellers” or “Diggers”, intends to plant crops to assert, both practically and symbolically, common ownership of common land. Digger Gerrard Winstanley says “The earth should be a common treasury of livelihood to whole mankind, without respect of persons”.


April 3, 1851
American abolitionist Frederick Douglass addresses a large anti-slavery audience in Toronto
A cheering crowd of 1200 fills St. Lawrence Hall to listen to Frederick Douglass, himself a former slave, speak on the evils of slavery.


April 4 – July 1, 1935
Unemployed men protest treatment in ‘relief camps’
In the middle of the Great Depression of the 1930s, unemployed men confined to dismal ‘relief camps’ in British Columbia walk out of the camps, where they are paid twenty cents a day to work on roads and other public projects, and head to Vancouver. In Vancouver, the men decide to take their grievances directly to the federal government in Ottawa, and on June 3 they board boxcars headed east in what becomes known as the On to Ottawa Trek.


April 4, 1967
Martin Luther King Jr. condemns U.S. war against Vietnam
Speaking at the Riverside Church in New York City, Martin Luther King Jr. calls the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”.


April 11, 1972
Beginning of the Common Front strikes in Quebec
Over 200,000 public sector workers go on strike against the government, and Quebec grinds to a halt. The workers’ demands include a pay increase to match inflation, a say in working conditions, and equal pay for equal work.


April 12, 1838
Rebels hanged in Toronto
Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, two men who participated in the Upper Canada rebellion in 1837, are hanged in Toronto. In the months he spends in the Toronto Gaol awaiting execution, Lount keeps up the morale of the other rebel prisoners by defending the cause they had fought for.


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This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.


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